Lac-Megantic Light Crude Oil Recovery Progress Report

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( — July 24, 2013) Calgary, AB — Cleanup of the deadly July 6, 2013 Montreal, Maine and Atlantic train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec is ongoing. According to officials it may take many more weeks before the full extent of the damage is known. Quebec’s Department of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks confirm that air water and soil were all affected by this catastrophic event.

According to the Departments website there were 72 cars carrying an estimated 100,000 litres each of light crude oil for a total of 7.2 million litres. Following a deadly explosion only 9 of those rail cars retained their contents for a complete recovery of 900,000 litres. Some 600,000 litres were recovered from 43 other rail cars. This leaves an estimated 5.7 million liters of light crude oil that was spilled in Lac-Mégantic. 

Experts agree that the light crude was easier to recover because it floats on water.  The assessments made by the Ministry on 19 July indicate that approximately 9,150,000 liters of oily water has been recovered. These waters are contaminated with approximately 5 per cent oil. The Department estimates a volume of approximately 457,500 liters of oil was recovered from the water. At this time it is believed that all pools of oil on Mégantic Lake have been recovered. 

According to the Department approximately 51,200 liters of oily water has been removed from the nearby Chaudière River which is connected to Mégantic Lake. The damage to the river was minimized due to the quick thinking of first responders who constructed a dam between the river and the lake.  

The department indicates that it is too early to assess the full extent of the situation. However aerial observations on July 21 indicate there are no traces of oil on the Chaudière River. They also note that there is no trace of oil or odor between Sainte-Marie and the sector of Saint-Nicolas, Lévis. Only minor deposits of oil were observed upstream and downstream of the Sartigan dam by Saint-Georges in Beauceville.

The Department remains in daily contact with the riverside municipalities in order to inform them of the status of the situation concerning drinking water. Crews are working tirelessly to restore access to regular water supplies. 


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